Watching Nature on TV Can Boost Mood and Ease Boredom

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Studies show that a simple walk in the woods can lead to better sleep and lower stress and living near a green space can even help you live longer, but not everyone lives near a park. So, what happens when you bring nature into your home via TV?

Researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K. found that watching high-quality nature videos can lower negative emotions, boost moods, and help ease boredom linked with being indoors alone as stated in Kickstarter.com.

The researchers sought to investigate if the same positive effects of being in nature could be replicated in a virtual environment. Watching nature videos on TV, a virtual reality headset with interactive graphics, and a 360 virtual reality headset were found to minimize negative feelings such as sadness and boredom. As stated in the interactive virtual reality actually encouraged positive feelings, such as happiness and connections with nature. 

“I think we were most surprised that just watching nature on TV led to positive changes across each of our measures, suggesting that even short, five-minute bursts of watching natural history programming can have an effect on well-being,” says Alex Smalley, a PhD student and researcher on Virtual Nature project.

The study’s original goal was to look at the benefits for those who were confined to their homes, such as those in nursing homes or those recovering from illness. However, in today’s society, there are entirely new positive applications.